University boards must know about campus sexual assault reports, under proposed bill


Michigan could see some major changes to the way it deals with sexual assault as Michigan lawmakers work to fill the gaps that they say were exposed as a result of the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University.

A new proposal, focused on our states public universities, passed the first phase in the process of becoming law Wednesday during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education.

This bill would require governing boards of each public university in Michigan to receive a written notice of any sexual assault reports on campus.

Lawmakers who back this bill, including state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, say university trustees and presidents shouldn’t be able to plead “willful ignorance” and should have “actual information” about sexual assault cases.

In the massive civil suit stemming from the Nassar scandal, MSU’s leaders have maintained they did not turn a blind eye to Nassars abuse, claiming they were never informed at all and if they were, they did something about it.

The university is facing multiple investigations into its handling of the scandal and questions still remain over who, knew what, and when, about Nassar and his boss at the time, former MSU Dean William Strampel.

Documents from our media partners at MLive show that MSU was given warning signs about Strampel’s behavior as far back as 2004, when then provost, Lou Anna K. Simon received a memo outlining students concerns.

Michigan’s universities will also see the benefits of a $14-million dollar boost in funding to help with efforts including campus safety, sexual assault prevention, and student mental health programs. That measure was also approve Wednesday by the panel.

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